12/01/2009

A Surprise Named Clio

Posted by The Wine Whore |


There's no doubt... I am 100% a creature of habit. Take me to an Italian restaurant and you can bet I'll order the Veal Parmesan. Stop at Starbucks, and you know I'm going to walk away with a Mocha Frappucino... and last Saturday, when I went out for some wine, I KNEW I was going to order a bottle of Hitching Post Pinot. Little did I know that I was in for a surprise... a pleasant surprise!

It all took place Last Saturday when I went out for some drinks at a local wine bar aptly named 'The Vine'. Now, I am as much of a wine bar whore as I am a wine whore, but this particular wine bar is one of my favorite places to hang out for three reasons:

    1) They know me
    2) They have a decent yet fairly priced wine list
    3) I like the atmosphere/service

Once I found my table, it wasn't long until I was greeted by the head honcho, El Jefe of the establishment. Despite the fact that I wasn't even tipsy yet, I couldn't quite understand what he was saying. All I could hear was "you HAVE to try this!" to which I replied, "of course!".

Within a matter of minutes, he stomped back to my table clutching a bottle of Spanish wine that I had never before heard of, nonetheless tasted. He fumbled as he uncorked the bottle, quickly poured a splash, and stood patiently gazing into my reaction like a child waiting anxiously for the teacher to grade his homework.

I took a sniff and immediately knew this bottle was going to be worth enjoying. You know that one sniff that immediately whispers "I am the one" to your senses? That's exactly what I smelled. I'll save the cheesy tasting notes for Robert Parker, but I will tell you that it was simply beautiful. The feeling was kinda like watching Pamela Anderson running down the beach Baywatch-style in her fire engine red bikini: just pure awesome! The taste was not about to disappointment my sense either. It was full bodied, smooth, and even a tad sweeter than I expected.


"What the heck is in this Spanish red?" I wondered.

It's name was hard to find on the label. Eventually I figured out that it was a bottle of Bodegas El Nido Jumilla Clio 2006. A quick google on the ol' Blackberry revealed its composition: 30% Cabernet Sauvignon 29 Year Old Vines and 70% Monastrell 64 Year Old Vines. Ok, the old vines totally explain the rich sweetness. Due to the presence of Monastrell, the blend had a subtle fullness that I wasn't normally accustomed to finding in red wine. What a refreshing change from my everyday California Cabernet. I was a happy camper!

Now, I did say that I was a creature of habit, right? Well, you better believe that once this bottle was gone, I ordered that Hitching Post Pinot that I had my mind set on. I know, I know... I should have tried out my luck again by choosing another esoteric selection. What can I say? I'm daring, but sometimes it's still nice to enjoy an old favorite.

When was the last time you had an unexpected surprise?

Cheers!



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16 comments:

Rachel said...

It sounds like you're a regular at The Vine! Two questions: How much was the Clio? Is that veal parm?

The Wine Whore said...

LOL! I don't get to go over there as much as I would like. It also gets a bit spendy to drink a lot of wine out.. especially when I have a lot of it waiting for me at home! :)

The Clio was a little pricey too, selling for retail about $45/bottle. Would I buy it again? Yes, but here's why: it was different! Sometimes I get sick of the usual.. it's nice to spice it up once and a while with something different (and good)!

Yes, that is veal parm... my favorite! What's your favorite Italian dish?

Cheers!

Rachel said...

$45! Ouch.

I grew up in an Italian household with homemade food so I don't know if I could pick a favorite. If I had to choose, my fall-back would be Pasta with Bologese, I guess.

The Wine Whore said...

Yeah, kinda steep. Obviously not an everyday drinker, or even a bottle that many people would splurge to enjoy, but at least it won't leave you disappointed if you decide to spend for it. I've had bottles that cost twice as much deliver much less.

Ok, lemme just say that I am jealous and that I want to come over for your next family meal... I bet it would be better than any Italian restaurant! Do you have a good recipe for veal parm? :)

Cheers!

Rachel said...

"Recipes" are always an issue to Italians. We don't really use them. That's one issue I am working through with my blog. I'll tell you what, start at the basics: spaghetti and meatballs: http://www.locodiner.com/2009/11/meatball-sunday-part-1-starring-marys.html

I'll eventually try to come up with a recipe for veal parm.

The Wine Whore said...

LOL! I was hoping you would say that! Now, I want your veal parm even MORE! :)

I'll start with the spaghetti and meatballs and then report back how it goes... oh wait, I almost forgot to ask! Which wine do you recommend with that dish? ;)

Cheers!

Rachele said...

It's nice when you have people looking out for you. Especially if they know what you like. I'm getting ready to start trying some new wines. I hope the higher priced ones don't "ruin" me. I would hate to have to start paying more:)

The Wine Whore said...

It sure is! Especially when they don't completely screw you... then again, if they did, I wouldn't keep coming back for more! :)

Nah, should ruin you... just make sure to stay grounded! Which ones are you looking to taste?

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

"Esoteric?" How is a new-world Robert Parker/Jay Miller wine "discovered" 5 years ago esoteric? The definition of esoteric is "confined to and understandable by only an enlightened inner circle." Burgundy is esoteric. A new world Parkerized bottle of oak-juice isn't because all the silly idiots that like Napa Cab can understand it. It's from Spain, but tastes of no where.

The Wine Whore said...

I've got to be honest, I know very little about Spanish wine. For me, this wine is somewhat "esoteric". I did not know anything about this wine when I tasted it so I can't say that I based my opinion of it on anyone else's reviews. All I know is that I really did enjoy it.

This bottle is going to be sort of a gateway drug for me. What do I mean? After tasting this particular bottle and hearing your comments as well, I am encouraged to try more Spanish reds (and maybe even some whites) to see how they compare. In the end, I may walk away from the experience with the same viewpoint, or maybe even one that is vastly different than yours. One thing is for sure, it will be my OWN viewpoint. Not Parker's, or anyone else's for that matter.

I guess what I am saying is thank you for putting a different spin on my tasting experience. I may be a bit disappointed to hear that this is no hidden jewel, but I am also excited about the possibility of someday finding one such gem... in the meantime, I'm going to keep sippin' and enjoying my wine!

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Look, I've had the Clio a few times...what I said above was a bit harsh but true. The wine is good, and this may sound depressingly dogmatic, but there are few ways to experience "traditional" Spanish wine these days...and Lopez de Heredia is about it. I would recommend the 99 Riserva Rioja which is about the same price as the Clio as a good place to start. I would also divorce myself of the notion that Cab, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Chardonnay are the only grapes of merit. Frequently, the opposite is true. Vintners making stuff from "esoteric" grapes generally are making them because they aren't trying to build a "brand," and believe in quality. I would suggest running from those varieties, and probabably 99% of what's made in the United States as a rule of thumb and trying the following: Grenache/Garnacha (and from Spain find one that is fermented all in stainless steel...it will change your perspective), Cabernet Franc from the Loire (Chinon, particularly), Riesling (Try Germany, but don't forget Austria), Savennieres--Chenin Blanc from the Loire, and of course, the list goes on...is you're going to be a whore, you have to act like a slut, which means fucking whatever comes your way, and probably for cheap. So all these areas are going to offer you more bang for your buck.

The Wine Whore said...

LOL! Honestly, I really appreciate the comments and perspective. This is exactly the information that I am looking for. I think most wine drinkers in the US are stuck in the Merlot, Cab, Chard bubble. It's almost like we never even believe these exist until one day we are unplugged from the Matrix and realize there is more out there in the world to be enjoyed.

I am curious, are you from the US? I am interested to know which country your perspective is based upon.

Cheers!

Rachel said...

WW: Spaghetti and Meatballs wine suggestions: Chianti pronounced Key Anty, of course or multipulciano d'abruzzo. You don't really have to twist my arm to drink a red zin or cab as well.

Anon: Wow. BadaBING. You really like to let it fly, don't cha?

I'd tell you which Spanish reds I like but I don't want the prices to go up.

The Wine Whore said...

Yes, please email me any names of the white wines if you will... I'd hate to cause a Parker-like chain reaction in the market! :)

Those sound like perfect spaghetti and meatballs wines... is there really a wine that wouldn't go well with this classically awesome dish? A US Chardonnay perhaps? (that one was for you, anonymous)

Cheers!

Kevin said...

Spain has a vast array of reds and whites, some very traditional, some very modern. When I was in retail, I always started people new to European wines in the Spanish section because of the taste profiles and the excellent pricing. Someone would come in and say, I want a good Pinot for under $15. I'd tell them, try one of these (pointing to Spanish garnachas) and see what you think. More often than not, they were converts. Everyone should strive to become a member of the wine century club and expand their tasting exposure. Save the favorites for those nights when you just want something comfortable and guaranteed pleasure, like me watching The Shawshank Redemption anytime it comes on TV.

The Wine Whore said...

I'd like to put your theory to the test on my own palate. How about I pick a grape, walk into the store and pick a bottle of a Spanish wine for less than $15... which grape should I start with?

Cheers!

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